When I was in elementary, I always had a well-packed lunchbox to bring to school. It was a hefty sandwich, 2 slices of white bread filled with a homemade Chicken Salad Sandwich Spread mom made. The chunky chicken salad spread had crisp cucumber slices lining the bread. It was paired with chilled dayap (lime) juice sweetened with honey in a tall Tupperware tumbler. My dad relished making the juice for us everyday. A fresh fruit filled the space between the sandwich and juice. All these were encased in a lunch box made of tin with the latest pop media fad emblazoned on the case. My parents took care that my school lunches were healthy and made from the produce in the backyard. I had the best lunchbox because nearly everything was made at home.
These thoughts came rushing back when I was mixing the mayonnaise into the finely chopped chunks of cooked chicken and celery. The pure white shiny mayo gleamed brightly and slowly encased the pieces of cooked chicken. The aroma from the freshly chopped crunchy celery was inviting as I stirred it all together. As I pondered, I spread the chicken salad between the heavy slices of country bread and inserted thick slices of sweet, vine-ripened Jersey tomatoes.
It takes minimal planning ahead, but making homemade lunches for school or work are the best always. Whenever I brought packed lunches to the office as an adult, heads turned when co-workers caught a whiff of my food as I opened my insulated tote. “That smells so good!” said my colleagues while they peered into my ‘baon’ (packed lunch). I am grateful my parents taught me to appreciate homemade goodness like a wholesome Chicken Salad Sandwich Spread. It’s those wondrous things that stay with you forever.
Chicken Salad Sandwich Spread
- 3 cups chopped cooked chicken (boiled or roasted)
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 1/2 cup chopped (about half of an onion) white onion
- 1/2 cup bottled, drain pickle juice sweet pickle relish
- 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1-2 large pieces sliced, for lining sandwich fresh tomatoes
- 6 to 8 slices for lining sandwiches fresh cucumbers
- 8 slices to make about 4 sandwiches white or whole wheat bread
- In a large bowl, combine the boiled chicken chunks, celery, onion, sweet pickle relish Mix in the mayonnaise. Season with salt and black pepper powder. Blend well. Cover and refrigerate till ready to use.
- How to assemble a chicken salad sandwich : Spread about two tablespoons per sandwich between two pieces of bread. Line the bread with fresh sliced tomatoes or cucumbers. Wrap sandwiches in plastic bags or foil. Keep refrigerated till ready to serve or pack in lunch box.
- Cook's comments: Dishes with mayonnaise dressings should not be left outdoors under the sun for prolonged periods of time (no longer than an hour). When serving these sandwiches outdoors, keep refrigerated then serve and pass around during the meal. Cover and keep refrigerated again when folks ask for more.
- Recipe tip: sometimes I use leftover roast chicken. I chop up the meat to yield about one and one half cup. If you do not have leftover cooked chicken, boil one half pound boneless chicken breast in 2 cups soup stock (or water), with a stalk of chopped celery, a pinch of salt and black pepper. Cook for about 40 minutes in a medium stock pot, over medium heat or till cooked thoroughly. No pink uncooked parts should be seen. When cooked, drain and chop cooked chicken breast. You should have about a cup and a half of cooked chicken.
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